Public Humanities Initiative

Storytelling and Spatial Violence

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Please join us for a film and discussion series on the impacts of gentrification, development, and other forms of spatial violence. The Public Humanities Initiative at the SOF/Heyman presents four events exploring architectural and territorial planning as instruments of violence, and the activists that seek to use visual and narrative storytelling as a way to reclaim spatial rights. The films we will highlight not only serve to reflect on the contemporary global context of spatial violence, they also serve as instances where artistic and humanistic production engage in spatial activism.

The COVID-19 pandemic is the gravest infectious disease crisis the United States has faced since the Influenza pandemic of 1918, and we fear that it will not be the last. This panel will feature the work that a team of sociologists, oral historians, and anthropologists at Columbia University’s INCITE and the Oral History Archives at Columbia is developing to archive and document New York City’s experience of the pandemic.

Originally scheduled as an in-person walk to explore the history of the Harlem River and celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, this Digital Harlem River Walk has been rescheduled to take place over Zoom at 6pm on Monday, August 10th.  With a discussion led by Scot McFarlane, this walk will feature the photography of Nathan Kensinger and Duane Bailey-Castro. 

Speaking of Covid-19, Now and in the Future with Rita Charon and Margaret Crosby-Arnold

Kathryn Tabb, Can Precision Medicine Care for the Polis? & Joy Knoblauch, When is Social Distance? Simmel, Park, Bogardus, Hall, or After

Hosted by the Public Humanities Initiative at the Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University, this Zoominar features the projects developed by our 2019-2020 Public Humanities Graduate Student Fellows over the course of the past year, followed by discussion with fellow scholars, community members, and civic partners. An interdisciplinary group of emerging scholars, these Public Humanities Fellows have worked both together and independently to implement projects that bridge humanistic thinking with civic engagement and social justice, scholarly research with public building and communication. They will discuss how their projects promote humanistic thinking beyond the university, from different disciplinary perspectives and through a variety of media, such as audio media and podcast producing, walking and mapping, and curatorial and pedagogical practices aimed at serving under-resourced communities.  They will also discuss the origins of their projects in a commitment to break out of academic silos, the challenges they faced in the recent foreclosure of public spheres, and their current thinking about the methods and urgency of the Public Humanities in these critical times—both in the public sphere and in the context of higher education. 

Samia Henni, French Nuclear Toxicity in the Sahara & Chisomo Kalinga, Narrative Stories: Understanding HIV & AIDS Among Peri-Urban Citizens of Malawi

Hosted by the Public Humanities Initiative at the Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University, this Zoominar features the projects developed by our 2019-2020 Public Humanities Graduate Student Fellows over the course of the past year, followed by discussion with fellow scholars, community members, and civic partners. An interdisciplinary group of emerging scholars, these Public Humanities Fellows have worked both together and independently to implement projects that bridge humanistic thinking with civic engagement and social justice, scholarly research with public building and communication. They will discuss how their projects promote humanistic thinking beyond the university, from different disciplinary perspectives and through a variety of media, such as audio media and podcast producing, walking and mapping, and curatorial and pedagogical practices aimed at serving under-resourced communities.  They will also discuss the origins of their projects in a commitment to break out of academic silos, the challenges they faced in the recent foreclosure of public spheres, and their current thinking about the methods and urgency of the Public Humanities in these critical times—both in the public sphere and in the context of higher education. 

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